Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, says the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) should suspend its strike in the interest of Nigerian students.
Gatekeepers News reports that He spoke during a meeting with the union, Chris Ngige, minister of labour and productivity, and Okolie Aboh Sylva, the acting accountant-general of the federation (AGF), in Abuja on Thursday.
Gbajabiamila said efforts are ongoing to address the issues surrounding the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) payment platform proposed by the union.
“Everybody cannot be wrong. We are working according to everything we said in our last meeting, please in the interest of our children, we have called you in spite of the court ruling,” he said.
“We are more or less working for you. There comes a time all conflicts come to an end. We will make our recommendation to the president,” he added.
“You have a very good case, the minister dropped a bombshell before he left but I didn’t pay attention. I understand your feeling and emotion.
“You are not doing it for yourself but for the enabling environment and the future of our children. Please let’s take it and get to the final destination.”
Also speaking, the acting AGF asked ASUU to embrace the Personal Information Payment System (IPPIS).
Sylva said that if there were peculiarities allowances in ASUU’s pay, his office would ensure such are incorporated in the IPPIS.
“Let us sit down and know what these issues are and address them inside IPPIS. We can correct whatever mistake we make now,” he said.
“If we accept what ASUU is saying, it will create room for everyone to be asking for their own payment platform, the military is on IPPIS and health workers, ASUU should sit down with us and see the progress we have made.”
The acting AGF said there is nothing complicated about the issue once ASUU agrees to the offer.
“In the spirit of reconciliation, if ASUU knows what can be done, we are willing to adopt it to resolve this issue. It doesn’t make sense not to accept, let ASUU come to us, we are willing to accept,” he added.
“If we are going to adopt UTAS, that shows we are going to build the salaries of other civil servants to UTAS.”
Ngige stated that the federal government would not offer ASUU what it does not have.
The minister said he initially tried to push for the adoption of UTAS and the other two platforms brought by ASUU.
He, however, said the three platforms failed the integrity test.
Reacting, Emmanuel Osodeke, ASUU president, said it was unfortunate that Nigerians failed to understand how the university system operates.